The American Antiquarian Society (AAS) cultivates a deeper understanding of the American past, grounded in its ever-growing collection of printed and manuscript sources. The Society fosters a broad community of inquiry through inclusive programs and generous support of scholarship.

A national research library and learned society founded in 1812 by Revolutionary War patriot and printer Isaiah Thomas, AAS is located in Worcester, Massachusetts. The AAS library today houses the largest and most accessible collection of books, pamphlets, broadsides, newspapers, periodicals, children's literature, music, and graphic arts material printed before the twentieth century in what is now the United States, as well as manuscripts and a substantial collection of secondary texts, bibliographies, and digital resources and reference works. AAS was presented with the 2013 National Humanities Medal by President Obama in a ceremony at the White House.

General Information
Staff | Council | Members, 1812-present | Hours and Planned Closings | Directions and Parking | Tours | Press Room


Strategic Plan, 2022-2027

With its first strategic plan in many years, the Society has begun to redefine the meaning of a learned society and independent research library for the mid-twenty-first century. Read the Executive Summary here.


Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility
A statement from the Council and Staff of the American Antiquarian Society

For more than two centuries the American Antiquarian Society has dedicated itself to promoting a deeper understanding of American history and culture. Research by scholars, students, creative and performing artists, and writers in many fields, grounded in the Society’s collections and fostered by its staff, has transformed knowledge of the past, belying any notion that there is a single or unchanging American story.

Founded principally to collect the printed record of the American past, AAS over the past forty years has also been an intellectual hub for the critical study of print culture. The creation of the Society in 1812 embodied the broader nationalist project of the early republic. In determining to collect all that had been published in what is now the United States, its founders privileged the printed word, a hierarchy of knowledge not shared by Indigenous peoples who had long inhabited the continent—including the Nipmuc people on whose ancestral homelands AAS sits—and one from which enslaved African Americans would be excluded by law in much of the nation.

Access to knowledge has served both to extend and to deny opportunity throughout American history. Americans have deployed printed texts and images both to create and sustain social, economic, and political hierarchy and to challenge inequity and oppression. The Society and institutions like it have helped to reinforce inequality through decisions and practices in collecting and cataloging, policies regarding access to the collections, and procedures of selecting members.

In 2021 we recognize that a deeper understanding must be a more inclusive one. We recognize that the best stewardship of AAS’s unparalleled collections requires us to work to open our doors to readers with diverse perspectives. Innumerable histories remain to be told by researchers—including members of groups historically excluded by intention or custom from AAS’s reading room—who ask new questions, probing the silences in the documents and amplifying the voices unrepresented in the printed and manuscript record. Therefore, the Society has begun an Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility (IDEA) Initiative with the following vision:

To welcome, recruit, support, and empower people of diverse backgrounds and experiences, AAS will confront systemic inequity, racism, and marginalization both within our institution and in the work of collecting, preserving, and sharing America’s and Americans’ diverse stories.

Full statement, including action priorities


Fellows, 1972-present | Recent Scholarship Based on Research at AAS | Publications

Employment and Internships
Employment Opportunities | Conservation Internship | Nipmuc Community Internship | Seiler Cataloging Internship

1812-2012: A View at the Bicentennial | In Pursuit of a Vision: Two Centuries of Collecting at AAS


Antiquarian Hall


AAS Partners

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Worcester Black History ProjectSalisbury Cultural District Logo Worcester Cultural CoalationLogo

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